Psalm_98

Scripture
 
Psalms 98: 8-9
 
“Let the rivers clap their hands in glee! Let the hills sing out their songs of joy before the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with fairness.”
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Observation-What does it say?
 
In this psalm, the writer speaks of the day when the world rejoices! The day when God returns and brings judgment to the earth. It will be a day when evil, sickness, sin, pain, and heartache end. A day when the new heavens and earth are established. A day for those who love God are able to dwell in His presence for eternity. A reason for the whole world to give praise!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
This world we live in now is just a temporary dwelling place.
 
The book of Revelation speaks of the new dwelling place that God’s children will be inhabiting upon His return:
 
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
Revelation‬ ‭21:1-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
It’s a day we, that follow Christ, look forward to. A day of praise and rejoicing! A day when God brings back order to things. It is a great reminder to me that the world I am living in now is just a temporary “stopping ground”, and that there is so much more that awaits me because I choose to follow Jesus!
 
Life Application
 
I am a citizen of Heaven!
 
My citizenship is in Heaven, not in this world. I need to remember that although I am from this world, that I am not of this world. Jesus calls me to be set apart from this world, to be holy, so that is what I choose to be.
 
“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”-1 John‬ ‭2:15-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Moses Gaddi
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1 Corinthians_8

Scripture

1 Corinthians 8:1b

But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.

Observation – What does it say?

The Corinthian Christ-followers had been struggling with what to do regarding things scripture wasn’t clear about. Can you eat meat that’s been sacrificed to an idol? To some it seemed wrong, as if they would be somehow participating in this idol worship. To others it seemed fine because in their hearts they knew they only worshiped the one true God. Paul sets the stage for how to handle these situations: in love.

Understanding – What does it mean?

As Christ-followers, we should be most concerned with building others up in love.

Sometimes it’s better to refrain from doing something you believe to be acceptable, for the sake of other believers who have different convictions. Romans 14 goes into more detail on these issues Scripture isn’t explicitly clear about, saying that we must follow our convictions. If we are convinced something is wrong but do it anyway, we sin. If another person is convinced the same thing is acceptable and they do it, it isn’t sin for them. 

So the point is, we should love others enough to refrain from doing what we’re free to do, if doing it will embolden them to join you and sin. For us, maybe it’s not considering not eating meat sacrificed to idols, but refraining from watching the rated R movie or drinking alcohol when believers who see problem with those things are present.

Life Application

God, please fill my heart with your love. I desire love more than knowledge. I desire to deeply carry people in my heart more than my freedom to do certain things. Break my heart! Fill my heart with love! With compassion! With empathy! In Jesus’ name I ask, Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson

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1 Corinthians_6

Scripture

1 Corinthians 6:12-13 

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.  Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.

Observation – What does it say? 

In chapters five and six, Paul discusses some of things to avoid as Christians.  At the end of chapter six, he explains our liberties and the way we can use and abuse them.  In verse twelve, Paul is likely quoting a member of the congregation in a tongue and cheek way.  Although we have freedom in Christ, we are not to be mastered by anything.  Our bodies our a part of our whole spiritual journey from sinful to someday being complete in heaven.

Understanding – What does it mean? 

When I was about nine or ten, I remember being at a friends birthday party that was a slumber party.  That night we had a feast of pizza and ice cream and I feasted as though I had never seen before.  And shortly after I finished my twelfth piece of pizza and fourth scoop of ice cream my body let me know that I had consumed too much of a good thing.  As an adult, I learned how to control my cravings when it comes to food.  I even learned that I often feel better when I consume foods that come from the ground instead of from a laboratory.  I have developed a craving for what is truly healthy.  

In the same way, we all need to learn to crave Christ like vegetables.  Only Christ can truly satisfy what our souls are thirsty for.  In Romans 8, Paul tells us that if we are living according to the spirit then we need to die to the flesh.  Given that we will someday live forever, whether it be connected to God through Christ or separated from him through death, I want to choose to fill myself with God’s spirit and not fill up on the material things of this lifetime.

Life Application 

Holy Spirit, I ask you to guide me everyday to be closer to what God has intended for me.  Lead me in every aspect of my life, because I don’t even know how to pray.  When I rise in the morning, help me to seek you, and when I lie in bed at night, may your praise be on my lips.
 
– Tyler Galloway

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1 Corinthians_5

Scripture
 
1 Cor 5:9-12-

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

Observation-What does it say?
 
In this passage, the church was becoming tolerant of sin. They were taking sin lightly and it was having a negative effect on the Body. As a result, Paul gave his exhortation about what they were to do about the immorality and sin present in the church. He made it clear that he was not talking about judging non believers and separating from them, but rather those who claimed to be believers, yet were living in rebellion.

Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Church discipline is a necessary part of the church and should not be looked at in a negative fashion.

Church discipline is required in order to protect the rest of the Body of Christ. Sin is like a cancer that can spread if not dealt with in a Biblical fashion.

Church discipline is also a result of love for the believer because we do not desire for them to walk down the path of rebellion against the Lord.  Just as Hebrews 12 speaks about God disciplining those He loves, church discipline is an act of love.

I read a really good book about someone in leadership who had a moral failure and the steps the church took to restore that person back into the family. There were consequences as a result of her sin, like the lost of her job at the church and her relationship at the time; however, because of how the church loved her and because she humbled herself to the point to going through the process of restoration (instead of running away from it or feeling like a victim and allowing pride to make her angry), her lost relationship with the man she loved was restored, that man also rededicated his life to Christ and she is back in ministry as a Pastor, book writer, and huge influencer for the Kingdom. The end result could have been worse if not for her church’s process of discipline and restoration and her humble response to it.

Life Application
 
We must change our mindset about church discipline.

We must be humble enough to accept church discipline when necessary. Or if anyone who claims to be a believer in the church is in rebellion, we cannot be afraid to gently confront that person in sin because we love the Church and the individual too much to allow Satan to have a foothold.

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Dear Lord, You loved us and the Church so much that You died for our sins and resurrected from the grave so that we would be free from sin and death, not continue in it. I pray for humility to turn from sin when confronted by another believer about it, rather than defensiveness. I also pray that we would not fear when the Holy Spirit convicts us to confront a brother or sister in sin. Please give us strength and may we be gentle and loving in our approach when you lead us to bring their sin to light. In Your Name we pray, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Michelle Gaddi

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Leviticus_3

Scripture
 
Leviticus‬ ‭3:1-5‬ ‭NLT
 
“If you present an animal from the herd as a peace offering to the Lord, it may be a male or a female, but it must have no defects. Lay your hand on the animal’s head, and slaughter it at the entrance of the Tabernacle. Then Aaron’s sons, the priests, will splatter its blood against all sides of the altar. The priest must present part of this peace offering as a special gift to the Lord. This includes all the fat around the internal organs, the two kidneys and the fat around them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver. These must be removed with the kidneys, and Aaron’s sons will burn them on top of the burnt offering on the wood burning on the altar. It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The book of Leviticus is centered around one theme…holiness. How can unholy people have a relationship with a Holy God? In this chapter of Leviticus, Moses gives detailed instructions to the Levites. Moses instructs them specifically on how to properly make a peace offering to God. The whole purpose behind these things were to teach the Israelites how to be holy before God. To teach them the importance of worship, sacrifices, and offerings. To convince them that God’s ways were what’s best for them.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Ultimately it was God’s sacrifice that deemed us holy.
 
“For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.”-Hebrews‬ ‭10:10
 
I’m sure we all saw the foreshadowing and parallels of how the Israelites were made holy through the sacrifice and bloodshed we read in this chapter. The unblemished lamb that was brought to the slaughter. The blood that was spilled so that they may be made right in God’s eyes. And how Jesus, the One with no sin (unblemished), shed His blood on the cross for the world to be made right with God (for those who believe). God already had a plan set up from the beginning. He knew what He had to do so that unholy people like you and I, can have a relationship with Him. He had to give His best. He gave us His one and only son, Jesus.
 
Life Application
 
God gave us His best. It’s only right that I give Him mine.
 
While studying this chapter, I learned that back in those times, the fat of an animal was the prized portion of meat. So when the worshipers burned the fat and the kidneys of the animal at the altar, they were giving God their best. This act of worship created a sweet aroma to the Lord, and it pleased God.
 
The Israelites were given specific instructions to give God their best. Give God the fat of the animal, and make sure the animal was unblemished. God made sure to do the same when He made His sacrifice. I couldn’t help but think, am I giving God my best? Am I giving God my best in my time, tithes and offerings, ministry, and worship?
 
Lord, forgive for not giving You what You deserve…my best. I know I can let the busyness of this world take my best away from You. Lord give me the heart, desire, and passion to give You my best. I don’t want You to get the leftovers of my day. May You be first in everything in my life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Moses Gaddi

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Psalm_92

Scripture

Psalm 92:14

They will still bear fruit in old age,

    they will stay fresh and green,

Observation – What does it say?

Speaking of those who are righteous – those who live by faith and do what is right –  the psalmist declares that their fruitfulness doesn’t have an expiration date. As long as they have breathe in their lungs, God still desires to use them to produce kingdom fruit.

Understanding – What does it mean?

This verse is so encouraging to me! Christians aren’t like electronics. We don’t become obsolete with age, but rather are still useful to God, fruitful, fresh and green even decades after making the decision to follow Christ. There is no room for a retirement mentality for a Christ-follower. A mentality that says, “I’ve put in my time and now it’s time for the younger generation to serve,” doesn’t align with scripture. If you’ve been serving God for decades, you should be producing just as much fruit now as any point before in your journey with God.

Galatians 5:22-23,25

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control…25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 

That is the fruit we are to be producing, and the encouragement is that if we still live by the Spirit, we should be keeping in step with the Spirit, not sipping ice tea in our easy chair, reminiscing of the good old days when we saw God at work.

Life Application

Don’t slow down! Will you read this prayer out loud with me?

God, I choose to believe that the rest of my life is going to be the best of my life! I believe my best experiences with you are yet to come! My fruitfulness isn’t over. I celebrate what you have done, but also choose today to press on to take hold of that for which you have taken hold of me. Thought outwardly I may be wasting away, inwardly I am being renewed day by day. God, today once again, I lay my life at your feet. Take me deeper and farther than I ever thought possible. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson

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Psalm_96

Scripture

Psalm 96:1-2 (NIV)

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.

Observation

I loved this commentary piece from  https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mhc/Psa/Psa_096.cfm

  1. We are here required to honour God
  2. Sing a new song, an excellent song, the product of new affections, clothed with new expressions. We speak of nothing more despicable than “an old song,’ but the newness of a song recommends it; for there we expect something surprising. A new song is a song for new favours, for those compassions which are new every morning. A new song is New-Testament song, a song of praise for the new covenant and the precious privileges of that covenant. A new song is a song that shall be ever new, and shall never wax old nor vanish away; it is an everlasting song, that shall never be antiquated or out of date.
  3. Let all the earth sing this song…all the earth shall have this new song put into their mouths, shall have both cause and call to sing it.
  4. Let the subject matter of this song be his salvation, the great salvation which was to be wrought out by the Lord Jesus; that must be shown forth as the cause of this joy and praise.
  5. Let this song be sung constantly, not only in the times appointed for the solemn feasts, but from day to day; it is a subject that can never be exhausted. Let day unto day utter this speech, that, under the influence of gospel devotions, we may daily exemplify a gospel conversation.

Understanding

And, with that, these simple verses serve as a requirement, a calling for those who follow Christ…

  1. To sing anew, something continually fresh – not rote or routine, but something from the heart.
  2. To share the love with all we come across that the entire earth may sing along.
  3. To share the good news – the story of salvation.
  4. To sing/share continuously.

This is the life we are called to! <3

Life Application

God, fill me with a new song.  Show me ways to share your love, your message, your salvation with those I meet today.  I’m incredibly and eternally grateful for the story of salvation; may I be bold enough to share it. In your name, I pray.  Amen. 

– Rei

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1 Corinthians_1

Scripture  

1 Corinthians 1:18 
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
 
Observations – What does it say? 
Paul opens this letter with a message on unity in the church.  He discusses the things that distract and divide us, like who baptized us or who we first heard the gospel from.  As he continues, he contrasts the separation of the church with the one message of the cross.  He compares what we know as wisdom through Christ with the wisdom of the world.
 
Understanding – What does it mean? 
As I sat in my biology class during my sophomore year of high school, I remember the teacher discussing the finer points of evolution and thinking, “None of this makes sense.”  The look I got from her when I suggested the possibility of an intelligent designer and supernatural creation was something I will never forget.  She responded to me in a way as to suggest that one might be inclined to believe this “theory,” but only if they had lost their sense of reason.  Suggesting points of the Christian faith often brings similar looks.  

It’s funny to think that almost 2000 years ago Christians were having similar issues to what we have today.  The opposition that we see against the message of the cross is everywhere touting itself as wisdom.  To be honest, it is those looks and opinions that often make me cower from sharing the message of God’s redeeming love with others.  All too often I fear what others will think of me.

Opposition to the message of the cross is something we should expect.  If we were not going to face opposition God would not have told us to “put on the full armor of God, so that we can stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11)  However, when we rely on Him, God gives us a spirit of power and discipline. (1 Timothy 1:7)

Life Application
Dear Lord, thank you for providing Your word to prepare me and sharpen me.  Thank you for providing Your body to support me in sharing your message.  Help me to keep my eyes on you when it comes time to tell someone of your love.  No matter how “embarrassed” I may feel, I know that your love is worth it.
 
– Levi Thompson

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Romans__16

Scripture

Romans 16:19-20-

 
Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Observation-What does it say?

The Apostle Paul is writing encouragement and admonishment to the church about the importance of standing firm in the Truth. They must not allow evil to infiltrate the church, but rather they must cling to what is good. Divisions can occur if they are not wise about what is good and not innocent about what it evil.

Understanding-What does it mean?

We are constantly in a spiritual battle (Eph. 6:12) and that’s why we always need to have our spiritual armor on. (Please see Ephesians 6:10-18 about the armor of God).

However, we can rejoice and have hope that we won’t be in the battle for long.

“When Satan seems to prevail, and we are ready to give up all as lost, then will the God of peace interpose in our behalf. Hold out therefore, faith and patience, yet a little while. If the grace of Christ be with us, who can prevail against us?” (christianity.com-Matthew Henry commentary on Romans 16)

Life Application

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

There are a few reasons why we go through trials and tribulations in this life. Some are due to the consequences of our unwise choices/sin. Consequences are necessary as a result of loving discipline from our Heavenly Father. Sometimes we suffer as a result of another person’s sins. While another is a test of faith that produces endurance and character (James 1:3) just like Abraham and Jesus experienced. However, sometimes we go through storms for the pure reason that Satan freely roams this earth, lying, stealing, killing, destroying, deceiving and looking for those whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8 ). He especially loves to target those adopted into God’s family, that’s why we need to be alert and sober. Paul understood the importance of encouraging the church to be wise in what is good, and also innocent (aka steering clear of) what is evil. Let’s take his advice church! Be encouraged that Jesus has overcome the world and it has been prophesied in God’s Word that He has already defeated Satan, so we have nothing to fear! Soon, death, mourning, crying, and pain will cease. (Revelation 21:4)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Dear Lord, thank You that You have already defeated the enemy, starting with Your death on the cross and resurrection from the dead and ending with his ultimate defeat. I pray that whenever we feel discouraged about the battle, that we remember You have already won the war. Your grace is with us (Romans 16:20) and that is something we can rejoice about! Thank You Jesus! In Your name we pray, Amen.

To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
‭‭
-Michelle Gaddi


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Psalm_88

Scripture
 
‭Psalms‬ ‭88:13‬ ‭NLT
 
“O Lord, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
This psalm was written by Heman the Ezrahite. This was a very sad, gloomy, and hopeless psalm. When reading the book of Psalms, the author will write about their despair, but it usually follows with a glimpse of hope. Their hope in God. That God will bring justice to those who wrong them. But this author has lost all sense of hope. Life is pretty much kicking him while he’s down. He seems to have lost everything. He seems to be content knowing that darkness is his closest friend in life. That hope is gone and out the door.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
No God = No hope. Know God = Know hope.
 
As much misery as the author of this Psalm is in, there is one thing, (other than the dark cloud that seems to be hovering over him), in life that he doesn’t quit on…CRYING OUT TO GOD! Although life seems hopeless for him, and he feels God has forgotten him, that doesn’t stop him from calling out to the Lord. In verses 1, 9, and 13 he clearly calls out to God begging for help. I believe it’s because he understands no matter how difficult life can be, or no matter just how much life’s struggles are stacked up against him, as long as God is with him, he has hope. He has a chance.
 
I believe the same goes for us. There are going to be moments in our lives where we feel hopeless, defeated, and alone. But no matter what life’s circumstances bring us, our hope is in Jesus. And we know that with Him, ALL things are possible. We know that Jesus was able to conquer this world. He even conquered death! And it’s with that hope in Him that we hold on to, knowing that with Him by our side, we too can conquer it too. 😊
 
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”-‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:6-7‬ ‭
 
Life Application
 
Put your hope in Jesus.
 
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Romans‬ ‭5:1-5‬ ‭
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Moses Gaddi
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